Springfieldian Cheryl Holmes, an information technology support assistant at Springfield-based Integrity Home Care, has been named one of the 15 women to represent the American Heart Association's national Go Red For Women movement.
The campaign, which had its Springfield casting call Feb. 12 at the Battlefield Mall, is an initiative designed in 2004 to raise awareness about heart disease in women, which at the time was causing 500,000 women's deaths annually, according to the Go Red Web site
Holmes began experiencing breathing problems and swelling two weeks before the birth of her third child, which was attributed to the pregnancy, according to her biography
Following her child's birth, the symptoms did not subside, prompting her to go to the emergency room. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy.
Holmes continues to see her cardiologist, but her conditions have greatly improved since when she was first diagnosed, said Stephen Hall, communications director for the American Heart Association Midwest Affiliate.
Holmes' condition has been helped by a medication regimen and a life outlook change.
“Before, I thought I had to be super woman," she said in the biography. "I had to be all things to all people.
"I literally had a list of things on my mind all the time, rather than enjoying life.”
All revenues collected from local and national Go Red For Women activities, such as luncheons and donation campaigns, go toward the support of awareness, research, education and community programs, according to the Web site.
Holmes is currently in New York City with the other women taking part in the initiative's national media rollout, including the Today Show, Hall said.
Biographies of the other 14 women associated with the initiative can be found online